Meet Jessica Renwick, a Health Play Specialist Apprentice

Hear from Jessica, a Health Play Specialist (HPS) Apprentice and Starlight Health Play Champion, on why she began her career and how play has been crucial in her work with patients.

“I have wanted to become a HPS since I was young. As a one year old, I suffered with Juvenile Idopathic Arthritis and was in and out of hospital.

“I always had fun with the play team on my visits and would enjoy my time there. I remember thinking to myself ‘I’d love to do that job’. I still remember when I was 12 years old, an HPS came to see me and explained my illness to me in a way that no doctor or nurse had ever explained it to me. Being able to finally understand it and why it is important to take my medicine was so helpful.”

"As I work in outpatients, a lot of my patients are here for routine appointments or blood tests. I’m able to create a relaxed and joyful atmosphere in the play room whilst they wait.

I also support the patients, under supervision until I’m qualified, with their blood tests where I use the Starlight Distraction toys because most children love the squishy toys. Making a step-by-step board of how the blood test will go, alleviates the anxieties for the child – it’s explained in a simple way for them."

As a previous patient in healthcare, I believe play is something that should not be missed just because you’re in a healthcare setting. This is where play should be a top priority; it helps ease the child’s experience.

“One patient had never been to a face to face appointment due to her fears. After a general meet up, and then starting some play sessions (we did colouring, and arts and crafts!), she was finally able to attend the appointment. Using the Starlight Distraction box during her appointment, we were able to do an echo and ECG.”

We’re thrilled to say that Jessica has also decided to become a Starlight Health Play Champion!

“As a new member of staff at my hospital, I’m extremely proud to be part of the play team where I am advocating the rights of the child. I’m proud of my team and the work we do and want to be able to show my support for Starlight and help in any way possible.”